How to sour a beer?

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likwidbliss

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I had the recently toured Magic Hat Brewery in Vermont. I tried a beer called American Sour and it was great!

I want to make a sour beer, but don't have expereince in it. I most likely will use extract. Is it the yeast that contributes to sour taste? Here is a description of yeast from AHS, White Labs Belgian Sour Mix WLP655.

"This is a unique blend perfect for Belgian-style beers. The mix includes Brettanomyces, Saccharomyces, and the bacterial strains Lactobacillus and Pediococcus. "

Or do I need to spoil the beer like a lambic.
 

Edcculus

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that Sour Mix will "spoil it like a lambic". The main organisms responsible for sourness are lactobacillus/pediococcus. We have a Lambic/wild beer forum you should check out. If you are interested in brewing sours, I highly recommend Wild Brews by Jeff Sparrow
 
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android

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the wild brews book is good, but know that you'll be investing some serious time in making a sour beer... it's not like making a normal beer. do some searching around the site, there are some good threads about souring beers. if you don't want to go too over the top, i would recommend fermenting the beer like normal, then adding the lacto/pedio culture, this will normally result in a more mildly sour beer.
 

Edcculus

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Another option would be a Berlinerweiss. Its a low alcohol beer that uses lacto to sour, then noral Sacchromyces to ferment the beer. Flyangler has a good recipe: Spurhund Zunge. This beer only takes ~3 months compared to the year + for lambics, gueuze and Flanders Red.
 

pdbreen

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Funny, I just started asking the same question here:

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/aciduated-malt-acid-malt-recipes-sour-american-ale-146430/

I know a bit of the answer for the current MH Odd Notion:
- they use their house ale yeast and standard ale fermenting timeline/procedures
- the sourness comes from using 10% acidulated malt
- the fermentation includes oak

But, I was looking for some other similar recipes before experimenting on my own. Biggest concern out of the gate is how the pH change the acidulated malt would introduce into the mash would impact things.
 

vespa2t

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Sour is for the patient. Plan on that Brett taking 6+ months to do its job. Realistic time is probably 8-12 months .

Also, when you are done, be very dilligent in cleaning and sanitizing everything that came in contact with that 'sour mix'....you dont want the next beer to go that direction if its not supposed to...

Wild Brews is a must if you are planning this project.
 

pdbreen

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Sour is for the patient. Plan on that Brett taking 6+ months to do its job. Realistic time is probably 8-12 months .
Ahh - that's what makes this beer interesting to me! MagicHat used acidulated malt for the sourness - not a special yeast strain. As a result, they were able to brew it using a standard ale yeast and standard ale fermentation techniques & timelines.
 

pjj2ba

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You could try not cleaning your tap lines, like I did. Worked for me.
To this I will also added generate a lot of grain dust near where you chill your wort. Let's just say I'm a lot more aware of grain dust now and am careful to generate as little as possible. Don't overlook the dust the gets on your forearms while mashing in, or in your case, leave it there until your wort is nearly chilled, then brush it in. I guarantee you that wil sour a beer, or two or three :cross:
 

Hugh_Jass

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I'm brewing BierMuncher's SWMBO slayer next week. I plan to introduce some tartness to the beer by pulling off 20% of the boiled wort. I'll pitch WLP 400 into the 80% and ferment as usual. I'll add a handful of 2-row into the remaining 20% of the wort and let lacto do its thing. When they're both done, I'll re-boil the soured 20%, cool and rack with the regularly fermented beer.

I'm hoping to keep the "infected" portion separate from my usual equipment and hoping do stop the souring process with the secondary boil.

I'll let you know in a couple of months.

Good luck with your beer:mug:
 

tcklord

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I'm brewing BierMuncher's SWMBO slayer next week. I plan to introduce some tartness to the beer by pulling off 20% of the boiled wort. I'll pitch WLP 400 into the 80% and ferment as usual. I'll add a handful of 2-row into the remaining 20% of the wort and let lacto do its thing. When they're both done, I'll re-boil the soured 20%, cool and rack with the regularly fermented beer.

I'm hoping to keep the "infected" portion separate from my usual equipment and hoping do stop the souring process with the secondary boil.

I'll let you know in a couple of months.

Good luck with your beer:mug:
That sounds like a great idea, you could maybe add campden tablets after or before the second boil to help kill some stuff off too. Let us know how that turns out.
 

TexLaw

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I'm brewing BierMuncher's SWMBO slayer next week. I plan to introduce some tartness to the beer by pulling off 20% of the boiled wort. I'll pitch WLP 400 into the 80% and ferment as usual. I'll add a handful of 2-row into the remaining 20% of the wort and let lacto do its thing. When they're both done, I'll re-boil the soured 20%, cool and rack with the regularly fermented beer.
I don't know if it's any more or less complicated, but you also could start a few days ahead of time and do a sour mash with 20% of your grain bill. That way, you do not need separate equipment. You get lacto into your MLT every time you dump in the grain, and you pretty much wipe it out every time you mash. What doesn't get wiped out in the MLT doesn't make it through the boil.


TL
 

lowlife

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+1 to sour mash.
I usually sour the entire grain bill for one day.
 

dantodd

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Another vote for souring a portion of your mash for a beginning sour beer. (If you are doing extract as your OP said try making it partial mash and souring the full grain bill at about 20% of fermentables.)

You can also try aciduated malt to start.

Either of these will be much easier, faster, cheaper and more controllable than trying to work the lacto/brett/aceto cultures etc.....
 

Hugh_Jass

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Should the mash itself be soured, or should I sour a portion of the wort?

If the mash is recommended, do you have a link that explains the process. I checked the Wiki, but couldn't find the info.
 

Hugh_Jass

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Here is the thread that got me thinking of souring the SWMBO Slayer.
 

dantodd

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Should the mash itself be soured, or should I sour a portion of the wort?

If the mash is recommended, do you have a link that explains the process. I checked the Wiki, but couldn't find the info.
It is much easier to sour a portion of the mash. There is lactobacillus resident on all malted barley. Letting it soak for a day or two will allow the lactobacillus to sour the mash. Once you make wort the boiling will kill the lactobacillus and you'll have to introduce your own souring agent again. Just mash in a portion of your grain at the normal temp and let it sit in a cooler overnight or; for more sourness, longer. It should smell like something you'd never want to put in beer at this point.

Just add this portion back to the rest of your grain bill and mash as usual. If you are doing a partial mash just put the grain in a bag and use the tea method of partial mashing. This should wash most of the sour wort out of the grain.

What you are doing by mashing the grain is converting the starches to sugars and then as the mash cools down overnight the lactobacillus will begin turning that sugar into lactic acid, providing the sourness. Once you boil the wort the lactobacillus will be killed. This also means you are not introducing a souring agent to your fermentation equipment which many brewers are wary of doing.
 

Hugh_Jass

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It is much easier to sour a portion of the mash. There is lactobacillus resident on all malted barley. Letting it soak for a day or two will allow the lactobacillus to sour the mash. Once you make wort the boiling will kill the lactobacillus and you'll have to introduce your own souring agent again. Just mash in a portion of your grain at the normal temp and let it sit in a cooler overnight or; for more sourness, longer. It should smell like something you'd never want to put in beer at this point.

Just add this portion back to the rest of your grain bill and mash as usual. If you are doing a partial mash just put the grain in a bag and use the tea method of partial mashing. This should wash most of the sour wort out of the grain.

What you are doing by mashing the grain is converting the starches to sugars and then as the mash cools down overnight the lactobacillus will begin turning that sugar into lactic acid, providing the sourness. Once you boil the wort the lactobacillus will be killed. This also means you are not introducing a souring agent to your fermentation equipment which many brewers are wary of doing.
<light bulb illuminates>

Thank you!:mug:
 

Cape Brewing

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Ahh - that's what makes this beer interesting to me! MagicHat used acidulated malt for the sourness - not a special yeast strain. As a result, they were able to brew it using a standard ale yeast and standard ale fermentation techniques & timelines.
yup... I was up there a couple of weeks ago and almost got in a fight with the poor girl behnid the taps because she insisted they didn't use anything other than their standard english ale yeast to ferment out and all of the sour was from the acidulated. I was shocked. I made her call someone in the brewery. They came out and said the same thing. "All we used was acidulated. There are no bugs at all and we did not do a sour mash".

It's a really nice beer (IMO) and I just haven't gotten around to trying it with just the acidulated but I'm going to.
 

pdbreen

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It's a really nice beer (IMO) and I just haven't gotten around to trying it with just the acidulated but I'm going to.
I stopped by the LHBS and they had some, so I picked up a few pounds to experiment with. Just need to do a bit more research on technique first - whether it's a separate mash (as above) or all in the same mash. If the same mash, then need to figure out if there are any ph issues.
 

ColoradoXJ13

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FYI, a soured mash, acidulated malt soured beer, brett soured, and acetobacter/pedio soured beer all have very different characteristics. You may want to taste some sours, and read up a bit before diving into this head first. It also creates some equipment issues unless you are very careful about sanitization of equipment.
 

dantodd

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FYI, a soured mash, acidulated malt soured beer, brett soured, and acetobacter/pedio soured beer all have very different characteristics. You may want to taste some sours, and read up a bit before diving into this head first. It also creates some equipment issues unless you are very careful about sanitization of equipment.
While brett and fermentation innoculated lacto/pedio cultures will "infect" your equipment you shouldn't have a problem with a soured mash except possibly the tube running from your MLT to BK. The MLT will be no more "infected" than it ever was before when it had lacto covered barley on it, the only difference is that the soured version also has the acid in it which isn't infectious. Using acidulated malt is essentially the same "infection-wise."


Try one of the two "easy" methods then try the other next time. If you like them and want to try something more "funky" as well as sour dedicate one of your fermentation buckets to sour beers and start going on the brett etc.
 

Cape Brewing

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I stopped by the LHBS and they had some, so I picked up a few pounds to experiment with. Just need to do a bit more research on technique first - whether it's a separate mash (as above) or all in the same mash. If the same mash, then need to figure out if there are any ph issues.
The impression I got from Magic Hat was that it wasn't a separate mash... just a basic single mash with a lower PH. I'm guessing efficiency would drop off a bit but at the end, I'm not sure you're talking about a PH so low that you would have to dramatically alter your normal process.

... at least I wasn't planning on altering mine.
 

dantodd

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I stopped by the LHBS and they had some, so I picked up a few pounds to experiment with. Just need to do a bit more research on technique first - whether it's a separate mash (as above) or all in the same mash. If the same mash, then need to figure out if there are any ph issues.
Since the acidulated malt already has the acid you don't need to mash separately. As Cape said, it will lower your Ph some but shouldn't dramatically alter your beer.
 

pdbreen

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Since the acidulated malt already has the acid you don't need to mash separately. As Cape said, it will lower your Ph some but shouldn't dramatically alter your beer.
Ok - that makes it easy! So, I'll come up with a recipe that comes close to the MagicHat specs:

Malts: Pale, Acidulated (Matty O said this is 10% of the grain bill), Caramunich, Chocolate
Hops: Columbus
Gravity: 11.2
ABV: 4.5
IBU: 15
SRM: 20.0
Yeast: English Ale

And oak chips during the fermentation.
 

Hugh_Jass

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According to ProBrewer, every 1% acid malt lowers the Ph by .01.

I've used Acid malt in a stout. You can def. pick up the tartness. I don't have my notes in front of me, but I'm thinking ~7% of the grist was acid malt.

Include the acid malt in your grist and mash as usual, but consider how the acid malt will effect the Ph of your mash (should this be considered when sour mashing a portion of the grist?)
 

scone

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Should the mash itself be soured, or should I sour a portion of the wort?

If the mash is recommended, do you have a link that explains the process. I checked the Wiki, but couldn't find the info.
I'm trying a very similar thing, and I think you would be souring the mash. There's been some talk of this in https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f37/kentucky-common-recipe-instructions-146562/, and also https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/kentucky-common-sourness-126826/ and ODaniel's website http://www.surrealstudio.net/ODanielsBlog/?p=59. There are a few links off each to follow. From what I understand, you basically mash like normal, and then simply leave the grains in the mash tun for 24 hours, trying to keep temperatures around 100F. This results in a soured mash, which you then use like you would a regular mash. The lacto rides in on the grain.

I'll be trying this as soon as I can get around to it. I can't do the full grain bill and I'm thinking about adding some extract to the mash itself to give the lacto sugars something to eat. Probably bumping the water up a bit from 1.25qt/lb too so I don't mash too thick.
 

dontman

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Every sour mash technique I have ever seen described always adds a handful of fresh malt grain to the mash after it cools down to 100 so that you introduce a fresh (er) source of lactobacillus.

I'm starting a sour on Sunday using first WLP 400 and in a couple weeks, the WY sour blend. I plan to secondary for 3-4 months with the beer alone and then add 1 lb of sugar and 10 lbs of raspberries to secondary. Then 9 months and then tertiary for a month before bottling with some S05.
 
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